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Alice Springs: 'A Festival In Light' Announces Dazzling 2020 Program

Fancy a domestic holiday with a difference? Get yourself to Alice Springs to celebrate 'Parrtjima' - a festival in light, with dazzling light installations, live music, talks, and Aussie films, from 11-20 September 2020.

Fancy a domestic holiday with a difference? Get yourself to Alice Springs to celebrate ‘Parrtjima’ – a festival in light, with dazzling light installations, live music, talks, and Aussie films, from 11-20 September 2020.

The only Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world, Parrtjima – A Festival in Light has announced its exciting new program of stunning light installations, live music, workshops, meaningful talks, and film favourites in Alice Springs (Mparntwe), home of Arrernte people.

“We couldn’t be happier with our new program and everyone involved is so thrilled to be able to host Parrtjima this year after having to postpone due to COVID-19 earlier in April,” First Nations Adviser Rhoda Roberts continued.

“Now is the perfect time for Australians to connect with each other, enjoy themselves, and immerse themselves in wonderful stories, art, and performances,”

Rhoda Roberts

The free festival is themed ‘Lifting Our Spirits’ and runs for 10 nights, proudly showcasing the oldest continuous culture on Earth, bringing stories and ideas to life through engaging, creative, fun, and moving performances and installations. 

Light up Alice

Rhoda Roberts at Parrtjima 2019. Image – James Horan

AGB Events, the creative directors and producers of the festival, have engaged First Nations Adviser Rhoda Roberts as part of their team to work alongside the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group (PFRG) to develop stunning light installations, as well as the program for the Deep Listening talks, Aboriginal films, workshops, and live music. 

This year’s 2km illumination of MacDonnell Ranges light show is called Ebb and Flow of Sky and Country and will be accompanied by a dynamic soundscape and narration by traditional owner Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens and Roberts. 

The light installation showcase, Werte, has been inspired by an artwork by Kumalie Kngwarraye Riley, which takes as its central motif Werte (pronounced Woord-da), the concentric lineal work that speaks of meeting places, and is so relevant to the Central Desert art styles.

Parrtjima festival, Alice Springs, Australia. Artist Johnny Young and David Wallace with his work “Language of Stockman”. Image – Parrtjima / NTMEC

Among the highlights are artist Greg McAdam’s enormous glowing sphere, Grass Seed, measuring seven metres in diameter and suspended three metres in the air; Rachel Wallace’s Alatye(Bush Yam), reinterpreted into a four metre-high flower; and Lachlan Dodds-Watson’s representation of the next generation of artists, Emu Laying Eggs at Night, a towering eight metre-high emu.

Spearheading the Deep Listening talks program, hosted by Roberts on stage, are renowned journalist, film maker, author and Wiradjuri man Stan Grant who will discuss Race, Identity and Belonging; and journalist, author and educator Tracey Holmes on Sydney 2000 – Representing Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Globally

In a first for Parrtjima, there will be two nights of mouth-watering cooking demonstrations with high-profile chef Mark Olive and Rayleen Brown, co-founder of Kungkas Can Cook. Rayleen is recognised throughout Australia and internationally for shining the spotlight on Central Australian bush foods. 

Raylene Brown. Image – Parrtjima / NTMEC

Hosted by Paul Ah Chee, the Sounds of the Centre music program is a unique mix of locally sourced Territory talent, from Stuart Nuggett, a finalist in the 2020 Indigenous Language Award at the 2020 National Indigenous Music Awards, through to Leah Flanagan’s string quartet, and to metal from the world’s most remote metal band Southeast Desert Metal. Other popular acts include Kirra Voller, Jessie K, and Paul Ah Chee and Friends.   

Cinema in Todd Mall will feature free feature films and documentaries including Aussie favourites Top End Wedding, The Sapphires, and Bran Nue Dae plus a number of ground-breaking documentaries, including the Australian Dream and In My Blood It Runs.  

Register now!

Artist Mervyn Rubuntja with his work Language of Change. Image – courtesy Parrtjima / NTMEC

As part of the festival’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, this year guests are required to register their attendance at Parrtjima.

Tickets are free of charge.

Registering helps to manage the number of visitors each night, reduce queueing, and support physical distancing guidelines.

For more details on Parrtjima’s program of events, head to

To register, simply visit: